Why We Can Thank a Polio Emergency for the Birth of Intensive Care

June 6, 2023

(Nature) – The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care Hannah Wunsch Greystone Books (2023) The COVID-19 pandemic has brought home the central role of intensive care units (ICUs) in saving the lives of those in critical condition in hospitals today. Yet if you asked most people where the ICU concept came from, few would know that it was an outgrowth of a polio epidemic in Denmark. In her brilliant new book, Hannah Wunsch, an anaesthesiologist and critical-care-medicine specialist at the University of Toronto, Canada, traces the origins of the modern ICU to 1952 and the Blegdam hospital in Copenhagen — something she has written about before in Nature. (Read More)